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SyQuest struggles but CEO doesn't

The company's CEO gets 1 million options despite the fact that the struggling storage maker's financial situation did not vastly improve on his watch.

SyQuest chief executive Edwin Harper just marked the end of his first full year running the troubled storage maker. Though the company's situation did not vastly improve on his watch, he will receive 1 million options, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The options have a strike price of $2.156 a share, and, based on a 5 percent appreciation, the company has given them a potential value of $464,631. The option grant, approved by shareholders last November, has not yet been issued, according to the filing.

Harper, who joined struggling SyQuest in May of 1996, received no bonus last year, and his base salary remained at $307,200.

SyQuest's revenue fell by nearly 40 percent last year, to $122.7 million, compared with the previous year. The company posted a $68.7 million loss, less than the previous year's loss of $136.7 million.

Shares in SyQuest, meanwhile, have fallen from around the $10 range back when Harper joined the company to their current level of around $2 a share.

A SyQuest shareholder who invested $100 in the company back in September of 1992 now would be holding an investment of $19 as of December 1997. The same investment in the technology-heavy Nasdaq over the same time period would have netted investors $279.

According to today's filing, members of SyQuest's compensation committee compared Harper's compensation package with that of other CEOs in the industry and determined that, while his base salary and incentive compensation is below the median for tech companies, his package lies within the competitive range.