The chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and top executives for marketing, human resources and lobbying will all come from Continental, the two airlines jointly announced Tuesday.
United CEO Glenn Tilton will be non-executive chairman, which means Continental CEO Jeff Smisek, as president and CEO of the new company, will actually be running the combined airline. John Tague, the president of United, will be leaving the company. The chief financial officer of Continental, Zane Rowe, will stay; United CFO Kathryn Mikells will go.
The senior United executive to remain in a managerial post will be Pete McDonald, who has been with the airline for more than 40 years. He'll remain chief operations officer. Also remaining from the United side will be Keith Halbert, the chief information officer, and the company's general counsel.
Other Continental executives who stay will be Jim Compton, the chief marketing officer, as well as the head of human resources and the head of government affairs.
"This outstanding team represents a great blend of experience and expertise at both airlines," Smisek said.
"This created a superb talent pool from which to determine the senior executive team," Tilton said, in a press release issued jointly Tuesday from United headquarters in Chicago and Continental headquarters in Houston.
The United brand name, corporate entity and headquarters will survive the merger.
Also Tuesday, the European Commission in Brussels signed off on the merger, saying market share would be little affected since the two airlines' European routes are largely duplicative. U.S. regulatory approval is expected next month.
United has 46,000 employees and 3,400 daily flights to 230 destinations. Continental has 40,000 employees and 2,700 daily flights to 269 destinations.
United Airlines has hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and has nonstop flights to Hawaii from all of those hubs but Washington, as well as flights to Hawaii from Tokyo and Osaka. Continental has hubs in Newark, Houston, Cleveland and Guam and has nonstops to Hawaii from all of those hubs but Cleveland, as well as from Los Angeles.