Heneghan replaces Zell, who filled in and remains chairman.

CHICAGO-It’s been rumored for months. Now it’s official. Tom Heneghan has been named chief executive of Equity International.

Heneghan comes to the post, replacing company founder Sam Zell who in turn filled in as interim chief after the late-year departure of Gary Garrabrant. Zell remains chairman.

From 1990 to 1995, Heneghan was with Equity Group Investments, Zell’s privately held investment company. Other executive-level positions he has held in the Zell universe include Great American Management and Investments, a publicly traded holding company with subsidiaries in agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, building products and other manufacturing; Capsure Holdings, a publicly traded insurance company; and Greenberg & Pociask, Zell’s in-house financial services provider.

According to the company website, before joining Zell, he was a financial analyst with Nicor Gas, and he began his career as a staff accountant at Peat Marwick, now part of KPMG.