Leading Pathe exec Francois Ivernel is to leave the European mini-major to start up a London-based production company, Montebello Prods.

Most recently, Ivernel had been serving as chairman of the board and managing director of Les Cinemas Gaumont Pathe, deputy managing director of Pathe, member of its exec board and prexy of Pathe U.K.

Ivernel took an exec producer credit on such films as "Girl with a Pearl Earring," "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," "The Queen," "Bright Star," "Slumdog Millionaire," "127 Hours" and "The Iron Lady" among others, titles that earned 37 Oscars noms, 12 Oscars and a Palme d'Or.

He also has an exec producer credit on two upcoming Pathe pics, Justin Chadwick's "Mandela" and Stephen Frears' "Philomena," that sold to indie distribs worldwide.

Ivernel's departure deprives Pathe and its co-president Jerome Seydoux of one of its most faithful servants. Ivernel's role at Pathe has grown ever larger since joining Seydoux's Chargeurs, which bought Pathe in 1990.

In 2000, Ivernel became managing director of Pathe U.K. He was promoted to managing director of film production and distribution at Pathe France in 2007.
Appointed in 2011 as managing director of the Pathe-Gaumont joint exhibition loop in France, Les Cinemas Gaumont Pathe, Ivernel has dedicated much of his energy recently to renovating France's biggest cinema theater chain, launching a new brand premium theater brand, Pathe Plus, in January this year.

Ivernel's departure will now allow him to focus entirely on his prime passion: production.