Madagascan football boss Ahmad has ended Issa Hayatou's 29-year reign as Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief with a 34-20 election victory.
Ahmad becomes only CAF's seventh president, as Hayatou was attempting to win an eighth straight term at the CAF congress in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Thursday.
The 70-year-old Cameroonian will now lose his position on FIFA's Council, little more than a year after he served as FIFA's acting president following Sepp Blatter's downfall.
Hayatou had only ever been challenged at CAF twice before, winning both votes by a landslide, but the 57-year-old Ahmad's promises to modernise the confederation and make it more transparent struck a chord with the continent's national associations.
During Hayatou's time in charge, the number of African teams able to qualify for a World Cup has increased from two to five, the African Nations Cup has grown from eight to 16 teams, South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup and CAF's revenues have grown considerably.
But Hayatou has also been a controversial figure, not least when accused by the BBC and Sunday Times of separate allegations of corruption.
The International Olympic Committee later reprimanded him in relation to the BBC's claims regarding payments he received from FIFA's former marketing partners ISL during the 1990s. Hayatou denied any wrongdoing.
The authorities in Egypt, where CAF is based, have also recently referred him to the country's economic court on anti-monopoly charges related to the awarding of a TV contract for the African Nations Cup.
And his brief time in charge of FIFA is perhaps best remembered for him appearing to fall asleep during a news conference, although he had recently recovered from surgery.