Kevin Warren will be the next commissioner of the Big Ten, the conference announced Tuesday. ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

He was never considered the obvious choice for the job, but former Minnesota Vikings executive Kevin Warren will be the next commissioner of the Big Ten.

The conference’s Council of Presidents formally announced today that Warren will be the Big Ten’s sixth commissioner, starting his new job on Sept. 16. He’ll transition into the role alongside current commissioner Jim Delany, one of the most transformative figures in the conference’s history. Delany announced he will step down from his post on Jan. 1, 2020.

Warren has worked with the Vikings since 2005, his most recent role being chief operating officer. He is the first African-American COO in NFL history and was, until he accepted the Big Ten job, the highest ranking African American working on the business side in the league.

“I am absolutely honored to become the sixth commissioner of the Big Ten, a conference with such rich history, tradition and respect,” Warren said. “The opportunity is an incredible and unique blend of my lifelong passion, commitment and experience. Positively impacting the lives of young adults has always been part of the fabric of my family and I will work tirelessly with our member schools to ensure that we are providing every possible best-in-class resource to enhance our students’ educational and athletic experience, as well as empower them for success upon graduation.”

Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State, said the council was impressed with Warren’s “broad experience,” commitment and vision. Indiana president Michael A. McRobbie called Warren “a visionary leader.”