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.

Fire BP.  Incompetence, pure and simple, for the mishandling of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

When the Titanic sank in 1912, it was the biggest calamity of its kind in history.  Fortunately, the world was spared the spectacle of seeing the captain and owners repeatedly botch the rescue of the survivors.  But that is precisely what is taking place with BP’s startling display of incompetency in failing to cap the oil well that continues to gush millions of barrels of crude from the bottom of the ocean.

BP’s long list of missteps that have brought it to this point, and will likely lead to its demise as a global oil company, have demonstrated that its judgment cannot be relied upon.  Warning signals were ignored.  Solutions have been bungled.  Time frames have been missed and extended repeatedly.  The amount of the spill has been consistently underestimated. Now we are told that it may be months before the well is fixed, according to BP’s best guess.  Not good enough.  BP’s time has run out.  Bold action on a war footing is now required by the United States government.

Before the Obama administration becomes painted by the same brush of incompetency and indecision with which BP has tarred itself, the company should be fired immediately and removed from its current position.  BP’s American assets should be frozen pending civil and criminal investigations. This is an appropriate move for the company that has become the Titanic of environmental disasters and may well have acted in a criminally negligent fashion.   BP has abrogated its right to fix the problem.  It is the problem.

New expertise needs to be recruited quickly and the full force of the U.S. government needs to be evident and placed both on the ocean site and on the land’s toxic assault.  The presence of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fleet at the scene, from which the capping and ocean clean-up activities would be coordinated, and the establishment of a high-level government agency to deal with the human and ecological catastrophe in the Gulf region would offer a new approach that is urgently required.  People need to see that that someone is actually on top of the disaster now — not making it worse day after day after day.

This is the worst man-made ecological catastrophe ever to occur in the United States. The damage to the ocean, to its stock of fish and wildlife and to the people who depend up on it may well go beyond what the imagination can now conceive.  A further misstep by BP, which seems entirely likely given its record, could deliver a crippling blow to the area and to the Obama administration, for that matter.

How the President manages that challenge and whether his administration is capable of mounting a sea-changing response, or is merely a hapless bystander in observing the repeated blunders of others, will be something that America’s enemies are eager to learn.  It is also something that millions who make their living from the sea and the region most affected are desperate to see with all available haste.