According to people familiar with the account, the incumbent, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holiday, Boston, will not defend. Source Martin, New York, is said to be handling the search.
Hill Holiday has held the account since June 2006, when it won the work from Omnicom Group's Merkley & Partners. In January of this year, the Interpublic agency was awarded marketing duties for Bank of America's global-wealth and investment-management division, a seemingly direct conflict with the Smith Barney work.
Smith Barney's parent company is in the midst of a restructuring that will involve the layoffs of 15,000 employees and a rebranding of the bank.
Spokesmen for Hill Holiday and Source Martin referred calls to the client. A spokeswoman for Smith Barney had no comment.