"My campaign was driven by the belief that Labor's future lies first and foremost in being clear about what we stand for," Mr Swan said in a statement on Monday.
"Our success won't be determined by tinkering with internal processes or by the outcome of votes over single issues at national conferences.
"To get new members coming through our door, and a new generation campaigning and voting for us, we have to show them we mean business about creating a better, more democratic and more equal society."
Mr Swan was the right faction's candidate, and his chances got a boost when the left-wing CFMMEU decided to run a candidate, splitting the left vote.
His election is a boost for Bill Shorten, who congratulated Mr Swan on his election win.
"Swanny lives and breathes Labor values, he's given our movement a lifetime of service and it's wonderful so many true believers have chosen him to serve as our next president," Mr Shorten said in a statement.
"Wayne has said it will be his mission as ALP President to lead the battle against inequality - I can think of no finer mind or more determined fighter for this task."
Mr Butler will relinquish his position at Labor's national conference in December.
He is also looking for a new seat, after his South Australian electorate was proposed to be abolished in a boundary redraw.
"Congratulations to (Mr Swan) on a strong campaign and emphatic victory," Mr Butler tweeted on Monday.
Mr Shorten thanked Mr Butler for his leadership.
"His passion for a bigger and more democratic party will continue to drive an important debate about Labor's future," Mr Shorten said.