Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis' fourth quarter earnings missed expectations as the group prepares to overhaul its Alcon division, a task that chief executive Joe Jimenez told CNBC he did not expect to be a "quick fix."
In a statement, Novartis said it had delivered "strong sales growth" in 2015 and said a strong pharmaceuticals performance had offset "weak Alcon" - a division that specializes in eye care.
In the fourth quarter, core net income fell 5 percent from the same quarter last year to $2.707, compared to an average forecast of $2.967 from analysts polled by Reuters. Net sales for the same period also fell to $12.52 billion, more than analysts had forecast ($13.044).
Currency effects had also negatively impacted sales by 10 percent and core operating income by 15 percent, it said. Shares of Novartis were trading 2.5 percent lower following the earnings release.
The company announced that Mike Ball would replace the head of its Alcon division Jeff George from February 1, and said it was focusing Alcon on its core Surgical and Vision Care business, adding it had plans to accelerate growth.
Chief Executive Joe Jimenez told CNBC that it would take a bit of time to turn Alcon around.
"The specific growth plan on Alcon is that we're going to focus the business on that core surgical and cataract surgery business," he said.