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CHICAGO–Contenders for Ikea’s $30-40 million ad account are likely to face a three-month, labor-intensive process that will include detailed creative assignments, sources said.

Ikea and Minneapolis shop Carmichael Lynch agreed to part last week after a 10-month relationship. Both sides said new management at the Plymouth Meeting, Pa., client led to the breakup.

“It’s not a critique of the past. It’s more increased pressure for the future that led us to this decision,” said Christian Mathieu, who worked with Ikea in Germany before taking over as external marketing manager, Ikea USA/Canada in September.

Mathieu said he won’t limit his search to full-service agencies, but the winning shop must provide relationship marketing and interactive capabilities itself or via partnerships. Media buying and planning will also be part of the account.

CL, which launched its “Live Better” campaign in October, will not defend.

“There was no way I could subject the team, after working so hard, to have to defend this relationship,” said CL president John Colasanti.

Requests for proposals from Pile and Co. are slated to be sent this week. Skip Pile, chairman of the Boston consultancy, said he expected to start with 20 creatively driven shops from across the country and have six semifinalists by year’s end.

CL won the business in December, following a review that was also conducted by Pile. Contenders included Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.