Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s chief operating officer, has been elected to succeed Bud Selig as the league’s new commissioner.
Manfred will replace Selig when the 80-year-old commissioner retires in January after 22 years at the helm. The new head of MLB served as the league’s chief labour negotiator for 15 years before becoming chief operating officer last September. He brokered three successive collective bargaining agreements with the players’ union in 2002, 2006 and 2011 without a strike or lockout taking place. The 2002 pact represented the first labour deal in more than 30 years that was settled between the league and players without a work stoppage.
Manfred, 55, secured the role in the second round of polling after falling one vote short of the 23 required from the 30 franchise owners in the first round. Manfred was up against Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner after the other candidate recommended by the search committee, MLB vice-president for business Tim Brosnan, withdrew from the race.
“I am truly honoured to have been elected by the clubs of Major League Baseball, and I will work every day to honor their faith and support,” Manfred said. “I also thank Bud Selig for his mentorship, friendship and his record of accomplishment as our sport's commissioner. We have the greatest game in the world, and together, all of the contributors to our sport can make its future even brighter.”
St. Louis Cardinals chairman and chief executive Bill DeWitt, Jr., who served as chairman of the league’s search committee for the new commissioner, added: “The Succession Committee was tasked with finding a dynamic leader capable of sustaining the remarkable prosperity achieved under commissioner Selig. Equally important, we sought an executive who will ensure that our game takes important strides forward in the future. In Rob Manfred, we have found that leader. Without fanfare or glory, Rob has assembled a long and proven record of helping the game excel in fundamental ways. He combines great intellect and forward-thinking creativity with unwavering respect for the contributions of the game's many constituents.”
Commissioner Selig said: “The unanimous vote of the owners reflects our industry's position that Rob Manfred is the best person to lead our game forward. Having worked with Rob for more than 20 years, and knowing the training he has had within our great game, I believe he is an outstanding choice who will bring true passion and leadership to Major League Baseball.”