UAL Corp and Continental Airlines Inc said on Tuesday that John Tague, president of UAL's United Airlines, and UAL Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Mikells will leave the company following the close of the planned merger of the two companies.

UAL and Continental aim to close this year on the merger that would form the world's largest carrier, to be based in Chicago.

UAL is the acquirer, but Continental Chief Executive Jeff Smisek is set to lead the merged company. Industry experts had expected departures among top executives and speculated on which company's leaders would claim the top jobs.

UAL CEO Glenn Tilton is to be the nonexecutive chairman of the new airline.

On the occasion of the proposed merger with Continental, this team that will leave the company following close does so with the appreciation of our board, our colleagues and all our stakeholders, for their significant contributions, Tilton said in a statement.

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)