The move has been driven out of the US, where the Agency.com founder, Chan Suh, has recently re-taken the role of chief executive after a stint as chairman.
From the end of this year, Agency.com in London will no longer report financially through TBWA\London and its group chief executive, Tim Lindsay. The same change is expected to be implemented in other markets in due course. At the same time, there will no longer be any obligation for the two agencies to work together on existing clients or new business.
Sources say that senior management at TBWA has been debating the future role of Agency.com within the network for some time. The London agency is thought to have already kicked off plans to partner with an independent digital shop, a move that could lead to eventual acquisition.
In the UK, Agency.com became part of the TBWA group of companies in December 2005. However, the two companies have struggled to work together since.
Sources close to Agency.com say it resented having to work on digital production to support TBWA campaigns rather than focusing on its own clients, which include British Airways and BT.