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 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 sort out the mess that many dubious ESG practices are causing.


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls, played key parts in regulatory milestones and warned about game changing upheavals in capital markets.

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.

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.

Scandals are real time drainers. Last week, it was the stock options backdating mess at RIM. This week, and it’s only Monday, I’ve spent a lot of time answering press inquiries about the SEC’s charges against Nortel announced this morning. And I’m actually on vacation.

The Centre for Corporate & Public Governance has a statement on its website about the charges —late in coming for thousands of aggrieved shareholders and employees who have lost their jobs, to be sure. But the prospect of a process that will get to the truth about this unfortunate saga and perhaps bring its perpetrators to justice is no less welcome.

I find the OSC’s piggybacking on the SEC’s allegations of accounting fraud to be rather amusing. Canada’s regulators routinely show themselves to be bit players in the North American capital markets. They had a chance to change that with Nortel —a Canadian headquartered and founded company. They left the heavy lifting to their American cousins instead.

I’ll have more to say about this developing story later in the week.