The Insider

Interestingly, Fares is a pal of George Bush and was the former president's guest at last year's Gridiron dinner in Washington. He is reportedly very cozy with elements of the Saudi royal family, particularly Prince Turki bin Abdel-Aziz, and has been a notable contributor to the Republican Party, a situation that will likely swing in the Democrats' favor once White settles in at the helm of Wedge. Since each of the holding group's operating companies is run by individual executive officers, White says his main tasks will be exercising investment judgments, selecting personnel and mapping corporate strategy. He declined to discuss the financial terms of his deal with Wedge.

White will continue as state party chairman, and doesn't expect his new duties at Wedge to interfere with those political chores. As for Frontera's oil and gas operation, White says the start-up company "has reached a critical mass where I can step back a little bit" and leave the day-to-day operation to the company's CEO.

Friends of White suggest his move to Wedge was motivated by a need to boost his income after his stint in Washington.

"There's economic benefit to it," White acknowledges, "but I can make a lot more money doing other things than this. I'm doing these particular companies because I like the businesses."

On the other side of the deal, Wedge can certainly use a political player of White's skills and connections.

"I don't think it will hurt," says White of his service in the Clinton administration. By that he meant his experience "managing a place with 160,000 people and cutting the budget by $2 billion," not the access he's likely to have to the Democratic administration.

Call The Insider at 624-1483, fax him at 624-1496 or e-mail him at Insider@houston-press.com.

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