June 4 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren has been named the Big Ten Conference's next commissioner.
Warren replaces Jim Delaney, who will step down from his post Jan. 1. Delany has been the league's commissioner since 1989.
"To have an opportunity to lead the Big Ten Conference, and follow in the shoes of Jim Delaney is truly an honor," Warren said Tuesday.
Warren, 55, will become the first black commissioner of a Power Five conference. He will officially start working with the conference Sept. 16.
Warren is the highest-ranking African-American executive working on the business side for an NFL team.
Vikings owner Mark and Zygi Wilf released a statement thanking Warren for his time with the organization.
"Kevin has impacted the Vikings and our family and immeasurable ways over the last 15 years," the statement said. "He has worked tirelessly to evaluate the Vikings franchise, all with the greater good of the organization and Minneapolis-St. Paul in mind."