McCann Erickson is out of the pitch for HSBC's global advertising business, which it said was due to pitching for another unnamed global bank.
The firm was one of five shortlisted by HSBC, along with BBDO, Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi, and incumbent JWT.
Sources close to HSBC claimed the agency was asked to drop out because of recent changes to its management team.
It leaves McCann parent company Interpublic Group without a role in the contest, which is now between the two WPP shops, Omnicom Group, and Publicis Groupe.
"It was a mutual agreement with HSBC that we decided to pull out of the pitch,” a McCann spokesperson said. “We're in a pitch with another global bank."
The spokesperson denied the decision was related to IPG's replacement of McCann Worldgroup chief executive Nick Brien with Harris Diamond last week. Diamond had previously served as CEO of Weber Shandwick for the past decade, as well as chief executive of IPG's Constituency Management Group, which contains its PR firms.
Weber had previously worked with HSBC on its North America account, but that relationship ended in 2011.
The bank is reportedly in talks about selling its 15.6% stake in China's second-biggest insurer, Ping An.
This article originally appeared on the website of Campaign, the sister publication of PRWeek under Haymarket Media.