Dollar Tree and Family Dollar merged last summer. Above, the exterior of a Family Dollar store is seen in Chicago, June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine is stepping down as chief executive of the company following its sale to fellow discount goods retailer Dollar Tree.

The move had been expected since Dollar Tree’s $9.2 billion acquisition of Family Dollar last July. The deal created a combined company with more than 13,000 stores and 145,000 workers nationwide. Dollar Tree had previously announced Levine would remain with the company to assist with the transition.

“It was very important to me for Howard to remain with our company and to contribute to the combination of our two large organizations,” Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser said in a statement.

Dollar Tree, which is based in Chesapeake, Virginia, is maintaining the two separate brands. Gary Philbin, who was named president and chief operating officer of Family Dollar after the merger last July, will continue to lead that division of the company.

Levine’s move is effective Jan. 15, the company said.

Levine’s father, Leon, opened the first Family Dollar store in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1959. Under Howard Levine’s leadership, the company grew dramatically, expanding to 8,200 stores in 46 states. He remains on the combined company’s board of directors, a spokesman told the Charlotte Observer.

Last year, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree agreed to sell 330 Family Dollar stores to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that their proposed merger would likely be anticompetitive. Dollar Tree is now the nation's top discount store chain.