The Vanguard Group of Investment Companies has named John J. Brennan to the post of chief executive, effective Jan. 31.

The move was widely expected. Mr. Brennan, now president of the giant mutual fund company, is a 14-year veteran of Vanguard and longtime protege of the current chief executive, John C. Bogle.

Mr. Bogle, who is stepping aside because of ill health, will remain as chairman of the Valley Forge, Pa., company, which manages $180 billion in assets. Vanguard, which markets no-load funds exclusively, is the second- largest U.S. fund company, behind Fidelity Investments.

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