Pathé executive François Ivernel is to leave the company after more than 20 years to launch a London-based production company.

UPDATE: Pathe is expected to fill the roles vacated by Ivernel.

Ivernel’s production outfit Montebello Productions will be operational from June 3.

Most recently, the executive had been serving as chairman of the board and managing director of Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé, deputy managing director of Pathé, member of its executive board and president of Pathé UK.

Pathe is expected to fill the roles vacated by Ivernel.

Ivernel was executive producer on a string of critical and commercial hits including Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, The Queen, Bright Star, Slumdog Millionnaire, 127 Hours and The Iron Lady.

He most recently served as executive producer on Justin Chadwick‘s Mandela and Stephen Frears’ Philomena.

Pathé chief Jerome Seydoux thanked Ivernel for “his unwavering support and loyalty” and expressed the hope that the two would work together again. The duo had worked together since 1986 when Ivernel joined Seydoux’s outfit Chargeurs.

Ivernel, who worked in international sales, production, distribution and exhibition during his career at Pathe, told Screen: “I have had a tremendous time at Pathe. But I came to a point where I realised that I would be really happy to work in production. I wanted to be closer to the heart of the filmmaking process.”

Ivernel said he anticipates his production slate consisting of English language films with an international appeal, often drawing on the UK’s talent base.

The executive said he was “leaning towards” the type of “reasonably” budgeted prestige dramas with which Pathe has had considerable success but added that it was too early to disclose creative partners and that there were no financial backers behind the company as yet.

The executive has not yet decided on a location for his London office.