Penny Verbe, the chief executive of Soho visual effects company Smoke and Mirrors, is to leave the company next month in order to take a year-long sabbatical.

Verbe has worked for the company for 15 years and was one of its original founders.

In an email to staff she said: “To be here from the start, and help it grow from a five man boutique to the global company it is today has been a real privilege.”

Tag Worldwide, the company that owns Smoke and Mirrors, is currently working on a new management line up including the appointment of a new chief executive. A decision is expected to be announced ‘soon’.

Steve Parish, the chief executive of Tag Worldwide, said: “Penny is a star and always will be, we fully support her decision to take time out to expand her horizons knowing that it will bring fresh opportunities and new perspectives our way.”

Pictured: Optical trails for Big Brother created by Smoke and Mirrors.