"Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favorite and his name is Antonio Guterres," Churkin told reporters with his 14 council colleagues standing behind him on Wednesday.
"We wish Mr. Guterres well in discharging his duties as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the next five years," Churkin said.
The council has been holding informal secret ballots since July in a bid to reach consensus on a candidate. Members had the choices encourage, discourage or no opinion. Guterres has come out on top of all the polls and on Wednesday received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes.
Russia, US and Europe at odds over next boss of the UN as voting reaches crucial stage
"In the end, there was just a candidate whose experience, vision, and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters.
"If we have these trans national threats and we don't have somebody at the helm of the United Nations that can mobilize coalitions, that can make the tools of this institution ... work better for people, that's going to be more pain and more suffering and more dysfunction than we can afford," she said.
Diplomats said one of the no opinion votes was cast by one of the five veto wielding powers, which are Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain.
The Security Council will adopt a resolution, traditionally behind closed doors, recommending that the General Assembly appoint Guterres for a five-year term from Jan. 1, 2017. The resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass.
"We hope it can be done by acclamation," Churkin said.
Thirteen people were nominated in the race to become the next U.N. chief, but three had already withdrawn before Wednesday's secret ballot. In a bid for more transparency in the opaque selection process, the candidates were for the first time able to make election campaign-style pitches to the General Assembly.
When Guterres spoke to the General Assembly in April, he said he was a candidate to become secretary-general because "the best place to address the root cause of human suffering is at the center of the U.N. system." He spoke in English, French and Spanish during the two-hour long town hall meeting.
Guterres, a devout Catholic, spoke about his decade as the U.N. refugee chief as "an extraordinary privilege but a terrible frustration because there was no humanitarian solution for their plight." He said the solution was always political.