There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

Conrad Black’s freedom can now be measured in days -31 to be precise- as a result of U.S. federal court judge Amy St. Eve’s decision to deny the request of Mr. Black and his co-defendants to remain free while their appeals are considered. The judge found that no substantial questions existed which were likely to result in an acquittal or a new trial. Her ruling also noted that the defendants “knowingly and intentionally misused International for their very significant private gain,” and ordered them to report to prison on March 3rd.

Mr. Black’s trial was long and complex, and has culminated in a Shakespearean fall from the heights of privilege, reputation and wealth that is almost too dramatic to comprehend. As we have written before, there are indications from his own statements that Mr. Black still has not grasped the depth of the descent himself.

There are times, however, when certain symbols capture the essence of a story better than complex details and lengthy prose. For Mr. Black, one of these symbols may have come in the form of a posting on the website of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, where the British baron has been assigned an official inmate number. Conrad M. Black, Lord of Crossharbour; Officer of the Order of Canada; member of Canada’s Queen’s Privy Council; holder of honors and doctorates from distinguished institutions. Now with a prison number attached to his name.

On the occasional spring days when chums and I would cycle over to his family’s Don Mills area mansion and see him strolling about those fabled grounds, or if, in the decades since and dozens of times that I have seen him at a function or read about his Napoleonic business maneuvers, someone had suggested that a day would come when Conrad Black’s Park Lane Circle address would be exchanged for a number at a U.S. federal prison, I would have dismissed the thought as the product of a substance-inspired delirium.

Reality is sometimes a stranger that even poets have difficulty giving a name.