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.

Finlay ON Governance made it into the WSJ’s online edition yesterday in connection with our post below about Goldman Sachs –or at least the flattering portrayal of that institution by The New York Times. The Rupert Murdoch effect is already showing. I was quoted in the New York Post a few days ago too.

I often find online reporters and commentators tend to be a little more clever and quicker to notice something than their print counterparts. Certainly, their headline writing abilities are better –and they usually get to write them themselves –unlike the print side of the business.  I seemed to have an almost unbroken record of having the lamest headline writers for my print op-ed columns over the years, despite the fact that I used to spend a lot of time coming up with what I thought was just the right short mix of attention grabbing and informative words. No, each time some anonymous copy editor would rewrite the headline and turn it into something I would have to make sure even my mother would never see, lest she think my writing skills had taken a sudden plunge into the pool of the banal. The headline written by MarketBeat columnist David Gaffen for the story above, is, well, pure gold.

There is a rumor that the Journal’s online edition, one of the best features of its kind on the Internet hands down, may become free. I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning. It would be nice to see it opened up to everyone in the same way The Times stopped that silly extra charge to read its columnists. The 21st century economic model for the Internet has its origins in a ground-breaking invention of the early 20th century: the radio. Then, the model was to maximize the audience size with interesting content and make the money with advertising. The subscription-based Wall Street Journal online edition, by the way, currently contains advertising of both the traditional static and flash motion varieties. A free online Journal could tie its content in with all kinds of existing sites and create a Google-like omnipresence of a respected news brand that would no doubt pay off handsomely in advertising dollars.

Mr. Murdoch seems to be more aware of the benefits of this economic model than a lot of the old guard executives at the paper who are half his age. I have a suspicion he is leaning toward freeing up access to the WSJ online. I also have a suspicion that if that is what he wants, that’s what’s going to happen.