CHICAGO (AP) _ The employee group trying to buy United Airlines' parent company has hired a former Northwest Airlines chief financial officer, the buyout group said Tuesday.

John A. Edwardson, 40, would become chief financial officer of UAL Corp. and the airline if its unionized pilots, machinists and flight attendants succeed in their $4.38 billion bid.

Edwardson will leave his job as executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer of IMCERA Group Inc., a Northbrook-based chemicals firm, on Friday.

Edwardson would succeed John C. Pope, who announced last month he would resign as UAL's chief financial officer if the buyout succeeds.

The buyout group has already hired Gerald Greenwald, a former vice chairman of Chrysler Corp., to be chairman and chief executive if the deal goes through.

Greenwald, trying to convince potential lenders to help finance the sale, has said he would surround himself with airline industry veterans in a new UAL management structure.

Edwardson was chief financial officer of Northwest Airlines from 1985 to 1988.

The employee group has until Aug. 9 to secure financing for their $201-per- share offer.