NEW YORK — Millard "Mickey" Drexler, apparently, still believes in the Gap, even though the retailer has been struggling.

The outgoing Gap Inc. chief executive exercised approximately 14.5 million options on Monday, significantly increasing his stock ownership in the company. Drexler exercised all of his in-the-money options, of which 13.5 million were scheduled to expire in November 2003, at an exercise price of $5.79 per share, or $84 million.

As a result, Drexler has increased his stock held outright in the Gap to approximately 13 million shares. At Monday’s closing price of $13.30 on the New York Stock Exchange, that represents a value of $192.9 million.

The company, comprising Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands,rose to retail dominance and financial prominence until stumbling in 2000 and has yet to recover from a prolonged string of disappointing sales and earnings results. Sales in 2001 were $13.8 billion.

As reported, in May, Drexler said he would retire as president and ceo this year, and would stay on until a successor is found. A search is under way.

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