The Week: ITV hunts for shop to handle £20m ad business

ITV has started a search for an agency to handle its £20 million advertising account, ending M&C Saatchi's two-year relationship with the broadcaster.

The AAR will handle the process, which is due to be completed by the end of the year. M&C Saatchi has declined to repitch for the business.

M&C Saatchi's grip on the ITV account has been under scrutiny since Mother was added to the broadcaster's roster in May. The agency picked up the project to create an integrated campaign for the upcoming ITV2 drama series Belle de Jour, starring Billie Piper, without a pitch.

This review comes eight months after David Pemsel became the group marketing director at ITV, replacing Clare Salmon. Salmon had close ties to M&C Saatchi, having worked with the agency in her former role as the marketing director at the AA. She hired M&C Saatchi in 2005, after Bartle Bogle Hegarty's decision to resign the brief. ITV is also expected to hire a new commercial director, to whom Pemsel will report.