Heneghan joins Equity International as CEO

The Chicago-based private equity real estate firm has named Tom Heneghan, former chief executive of Equity LifeStyle Properties, to fill the position vacated by co-founder and former CEO Gary Garrabrant last fall.

After having chairman Sam Zell fill in as interim chief executive officer in the wake of co-founder Gary Garrabrant’s departure in September, Equity International has landed a permanent CEO. 

According to Equity International, Tom Heneghan has joined the Chicago-based private equity real estate firm as its top executive. As CEO, he will be responsible for providing strategic direction and overseeing all of the firm’s activities, as well as its investment portfolio. Heneghan has been transitioning from his former company, sister firm Equity LifeStyle Properties, since October.

Equity International specializes in emerging markets. Its current portfolio includes interests in Brazil, Colombia, India, China, Egypt and New Zealand and encompasses homebuilding, hospitality, warehousing and distribution, self-storage and senior living properties. PERE understands that the firm plans to focus on Brazil, Colombia and India going forward.
In a statement, Heneghan said: “I look forward to building on the reputation and brand Equity International has established in the emerging markets. Having met with operating partners and investors in key markets such as Brazil, Colombia, India and Mexico, I am extremely excited about the opportunities that exist as a result of the firm’s extensive network.”
Zell added: “Tom has a long and successful track record building companies and platforms, and he brings exceptional leadership and operational experience that complement EI’s existing management team.” 
Prior to joining Equity International, Heneghan was CEO of Equity LifeStyle (ELS) Properties, an owner and operator of manufactured housing resort communities in the US and British Columbia. He joined ELS in 1995 as chief financial officer and later assumed the roles of president and chief operating officer, becoming CEO and a member of the board in 2004. 

From 1990 to 1995, Heneghan was with Equity Group Investments (EGI), another private investment company founded and led by Zell. At EGI, he worked with multiple Zell-affiliated companies and was an integral part of various initial public offering transactions, including ELS and Equity Residential.

Equity International currently is investing on behalf of its latest commingled vehicle, Equity International Fund V, which attracted $650 million in commitments. Through Fund V, which currently is about 50 percent invested, the firm co-invests with select operating partners in both existing and newly formed companies, with a focus on scalable operating platforms.