GSD&M, Chili’s to Part

BOSTON Chili’s is parting with its longtime agency, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, according to sources.

The client spent $110 million on domestic ads in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Agency and client executives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Management changes at the casual restaurant chain along with a prolonged same-store sales slump drove the split. according to sources. (Ken Thewes, client vp, marketing, who left this week, was likely the key departure.)

GSD&M and Chili’s have worked together for the past two decades.

One source said a Chili’s review is expected. The client is owned by Brinker International. Brinker has held several reviews in recent months for its other properties.

In early March, Brinker’s Maggiano’s Little Italy moved to independent Firehouse after a review. Omnicom Group’s Rapp Collins had previously handled work for the Dallas-based chain. Maggiano’s spent $200,000 last year in measured media.

In January, two other Brinker chains—Romano’s Macaroni Grill and On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina—chose Omnicom’s Energy BBDO in Chicago following a review. GSD&M had been the principal incumbent.

This would be the second major blow for GSD&M in recent months, following its parting with a portion of Wal-Mart’s $570 million account.