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NXIVM Corporation
Privately held company
Industry Personal development, multi-level marketing
Founded 1998
Headquarters Colonie, New York
Key people
Keith Raniere (founder)
Nancy Salzman (president)[1]
Products Seminars
Website http://www.nxivm.com

NXIVM (/ˈnɛksiəm/ NEKS-ee-əm) is a multi-level marketing company/cult[2] centred on the provision of classes and seminars that encourage clients to pursue a path of personal and professional development.[3]

Based in Albany County, New York, NXIVM was founded in 1998 by Keith Raniere.[4] It has been called a successful executive coaching program by some supporters[5] and a cult organization by some former members and news reports.[6][7]


The NXIVM training system is administered through Executive Success Programs. The training uses a technique called "Rational Inquiry" to facilitate personal and professional development.

During seminars, students refer to Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman, as "Vanguard" and "Prefect", respectively.

Reportedly, over 12,000 people have attended the classes between its founding in 1998 and 2010.[8]

Dalai Lama visit to Albany[edit]

The Dalai Lama's planned visit to Albany in 2009, sponsored by the World Ethical Foundations Consortium, an organization co-founded by Sara and Clare Bronfman and NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, was cancelled due to negative press surrounding NXIVM.[9]

Notable clients[edit]

Its clients have included Linda Evans, Richard Branson, and actress Kristin Kreuk.[8] According to Forbes magazine, 3,700 people had taken part in its Executive Success Program as of 2003, including Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET; Antonia Novello, former Surgeon General of the United States; Stephen Cooper of Enron; and Ana Cristina Fox, daughter of former Mexican president Vicente Fox.[10]


Forbes coverage[edit]

In October 2003, Forbes featured an article focused on NXIVM and some involved parties. Originally intended to focus on NXIVM, the piece would also focus on founder Keith Raniere and his life. The emergence of NXIVM came at a time when the demand by executives was at a high, with some coaches charging $25,000 a day.[10]

The article talked about some of the benefits of the course and went into the concerns of others. Critics cited the amount of confidentiality – students sign a nondisclosure agreement – and the amount of power that Raniere has over the operation and the students. A UCLA professor described it as “a kingdom of sorts” and a former student described becoming physically exhausted after going through 17-hour days of workshops and needing to check herself into the hospital. Advocates say the workshop sharpens focus, and has been described as a “practical M.B.A.”[10] After the article was released, Sitrick and Company, a public relations firm, was hired to work on press surrounding the company, but would later part ways with NXIVM.[11]

The initial article resulted in attention for the Bronfman family, with Edgar Bronfman Sr., Sara and Clare Bronfman having all taken part in courses. Edgar, who had originally endorsed it, had become concerned after seeing his daughters’ overall involvement in NXIVM and then said he “think[s] it is a cult.” A 2006 article was released about the Bronfman sisters, saying that they had taken out a line of credit to loan NXIVM US$2 million, repayable through personal training sessions from co-founder Nancy Salzman and for Salzman being available to take calls from Clare.[12] A 2010 follow-up article talked about commodities and real estate deals related to Raniere advice going awry. In reference to Edgar’s relationship to his daughters, his advisor released a statement saying: “There has been no change in the excellent relations between Edgar M. Bronfman and his daughters, Clare and Sara."


In 2003, NXIVM sued the Ross Institute alleging copyright infringement for publishing excerpts of content from its manual in three critical articles commissioned by cult investigator Rick Ross and posted on his website. Rick Ross posted a psychiatrist's assessment of NXIVM's "secret" manual on his website – the report called the regimen "expensive brainwashing." The manual was obtained by Ross from former member Stephanie Franco, a co-defendant in the trial, who had signed a non-disclosure agreement not to divulge information from the manual to others. NXIVM filed suits in both New York, and New Jersey, but both were later dismissed.[8][13]


  1. ^ "Nancy Salzman". NXIVM online. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  2. ^ William D. Cohan (November 18, 2014). "How a Strange, Secretive, Cult-like Company Is Waging Legal War Against Journalists". The Nation. Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ "NXIVM Personal Development". Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "What is NXIVM?". NXIVM online. 2003. 
  5. ^ Fairbanks, Phil (27 March 2011). "Local Developer Tangled in Legal battle". Buffalo News. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Odato, James M. (7 September 2010). "Ex-NXIVM Student: 'I Think It's a Cult'". Times Union. 
  7. ^ Odato, James (31 January 2011). "Papers Reveal NXIVM Secrets". Times Union. 
  8. ^ a b c Köhler, Nicholas (September 13, 2010). "How to Lose $100 Million". Maclean's. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Ettkin, Brian (6 April 2009). "Dalai Lama Cancels His Visit to Albany". The News-Times online. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c Freedman, Michael (13 October 2003). "Cult of Personality". Forbes. New York. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  11. ^ Vardi, Nathan (29 March 2010). "The Bronfmans and The 'Cult'". Forbes. 
  12. ^ "The Bronfmans And the Cult". Forbes. 13 October 2003. 
  13. ^ "nxivm corp-v-ross". legal case. Citizen media law company. Retrieved 2/10/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]