John McAfee kicked off NYSE stage at Cyber Investing Summit due to security concerns

Cybersecurity luminary told he’s a “security risk” and won’t be allowed to keynote an event at The New York Stock Exchange.

John McAfee, the cybersecurity luminary, was slated to be on stage as the keynote speaker at the second annual Cyber Investing Summit on Wall Street, which is being held at The New York Stock Exchange on May 23, 2017.

Andrew Chanin, co-founder of the Cyber Investing Summit and CEO at PureFunds, told InsideSources this past October that “the risks of failure at The New York Stock Exchange are extremely high”.

PureFunds provides investors with access to HACK (NYSEARCA:HACK) , the world’s first cybersecurity ETF.

Bloomberg called HACK “The One-Man, $1.2 Billion ETF Shop” nearly two years ago when Chanin, 30 at the time, attracted over $1 billion within eight months after launching - one of the fastest ascents in ETF history. In its story, Bloomberg described Chanin as looking like Ferris Bueller in a suit.

Right around the time of Chanin’s remarks to InsideSource, one of the big financial market stories that garnered widespread media coverage was John McAfee’s MGT Capital’s delisting from NYSE.

That didn’t seem to phase Chanin. Just a couple of months after his astute media commentary concerning NYSE - and McAfee’s MGT delisting - Chanin’s Cyber Investing Summit announced that John McAfee would be their keynote speaker in 2017.

In a Jan. 11, 2017 press release, Lindsey Lachman, the other co-founder of the Summit and quoted as the CEO at Specialty Investing Series (her current bio says CEO at Window Funding, LLC since 2015 and no websites could be found for either firm) - stated "Few people understand the opportunities and challenges of building a successful cyber company from the ground up better than John McAfee.”

The 20-something-year-old Lachman, who has a media background including a B.A. in journalism from Lehigh University and was founder and Editor of Sports Ditz Blitz for four years, added “Mr. McAfee’s experience founding McAfee Associates and taking the company public combined with his current role as CEO of MGT Capital Investments lends itself perfectly to discussing the future economic and security issues facing industry providers and investors."

Chanin and Lachman included the details of McAfee’s background in a press release that shared McAfee was employed as a programmer by NASA’s Institute for Space Studies in New York City from 1968 to 1970.

The day after their press release, the Cyber Investing Summit tweeted out “No fake news here! @officialMcAfee really will be delivering the keynote address at the 2017 Cyber Investing Summit May 23.”

Some Cyber Investing Summit sponsors followed with tweets of their own, as did McAfee from his own Twitter account.

As momentum for the event continued building, McAfee’s agent, Francois Garcia, said he was suddenly informed by Lachman that McAfee would not be allowed in the NYSE building due to “security concerns”, according to McAfee, who claims Lachman did not tell Garcia who she spoke with at NYSE.

When we reached out to Lachman for comment on why McAfee was removed as keynote speaker, Lachman replied “Our official statement is as follows: We look forward to the May 23rd Cyber Investing Summit, which is on track to be our biggest and best event yet." - Cyber Investing Summit Co-founder Lindsey Lachman.

I followed up with Lachman seeking answers to the specific security concerns with McAfee's appearance, but received no response. Chanin did not comment or respond to my inquiry. 

An official inquiry is into NYSE media relations on the matter - and so far there’s no word back from them.

While McAfee would not say the amount for the NYSE talk, he did share that his fees range typically between $20,000 and $50,000, plus all travel and expenses, for a one hour talk, depending on travel distance, time away from home, and other variables.

McAfee has a long history of speaking at popular business and technology events, and there’s no known security incidents which have occurred in connection with any of his appearances.

The Cyber Investing Summit has replaced McAfee with Michael Chertoff, co-founder and Executive Chairman of The Chertoff Group, and previously Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009.

Chertoff was hired by NYSE in November 2012, after an SEC computer incident, according to Reuters. It’s not known if NYSE influenced the selection of a new keynoter, or if the event producers acted on their own in the surprise swap out.

There’s no word on the Cyber Investing Summit’s website concerning refunds to attendees and sponsors who may have registered or committed to the event based in part on McAfee’s appearance.

More news is sure to follow. McAfee isn’t known to roll over and play dead when he feels wronged. So far, he’s put out a tweet concerning his speaking fee and the “security concerns” by NYSE.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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