Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved a five-year contract for Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred on Thursday's final day of the quarterly owners meetings in Kansas City.

Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer and a league executive since 1998, was chosen as the successor to the retiring Bud Selig in August and will officially begin his duties as the sport's highest-ranking official on Jan. 25.

The five-year pact is two years greater than the minimum contract the Commissioner's post can receive.

Manfred was considered an overwhelming favorite to replace Selig, who will conclude his 22-year reign following the Phoenix owner's meetings in January. He had served as baseball's COO since September of 2013 and spent the previous 15 years as MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources, having successfully negotiated three successive agreements with the players association that avoided work stoppages.

"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," said Selig in a statement released following Manfred's election.

Manfred at first fell one vote shy of the 23 required during the initial voting process before a minority group of owners that were backing Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner ultimately relented and gave their approval.

Among the issues Manfred will face as he begins his tenure is the need for adjustments to the replay system that went into effect last season, as well as finding ways to improving the pace of games.