In the News: Recent Developments

June 01, 2001

Power to Fichera

Joseph Fichera never imagined he’d wind up making photocopies at Kinko’s at 4:00 a.m. like some stressed-out college sophomore when he agreed to advise California Governor Gray Davis on the state’s energy crisis. But one night in April, Fichera — who raised billions of dollars for energy companies as a banker at Prudential Securities and Bear Stearns — was racing to compile a briefing book needed the next day and had no choice but to roll up his sleeves. “On Wall Street there would have been a zillion people to help,” he says. “I kept saying, ‘Gee, haven’t I promoted myself from associate?'”

The late-night gig at Kinko’s hasn’t been the only rude awakening for 47-year-old Fichera, who last year founded Saber Partners, a New York-based financial consulting firm for energy and power companies. He championed Davis’s plan to issue some $30 billion in bonds that would allow the utilities to keep the lights on this summer. But what Fichera sees as a straightforward plan has raised the eyebrows of state lawmakers who would like to see Southern California Edison follow Pacific Gas & Electric into bankruptcy — setting the stage for the state to take over the utilities’ assets. “In New York I’m a liberal Democrat, out of the mainstream,” says Fichera. “But out here I’m a totally conservative right-winger. I’m the Wall Street guy.” •

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