Kazuo Hirai to Succeed Howard Stringer at Sony Corp. (Report)

Kazuo Hirai Sony 2011
Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kazuo Hirai, introduces the company's next generation portable entertainment divice, codenamed 'NGP', at an event in Tokyo on January 27, 2011. Japanese entertainment giant Sony unveiled the portable touchscreen PlayStation as it looks to launch a fresh challenge to Nintendo and Apple in the competitive mobile gaming market.

UPDATED: Sony’s deputy president has been considered by many to be Stringer's heir apparent. Move could come as soon as April.

Sony’s deputy president Kazuo Hirai will succeed Howard Stringer as president of Sony Corp. as early as April, according to Japan's largest business newspaper, Nikkei.

Hirai, the officer in charge of consumer products & services businesses -- and who also serves as chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc -- has been considered by many to be Stringer’s heir apparent. According to the report, Stringer, who turns 70 in February, would remain chairman and CEO for the time being.

In response, Sony posted the following statement on its website: “Certain media reports were published on January 7, 2012 (JST) regarding Sony Corporation's executive officers' appointments. Sony Corporation has made no announcement in this regard and nothing has been determined at this time.”

Hirai joined Sony in 1984 on the music side but made his mark with the company by guiding the launches of the PlayStation2 and PlayStation Network.

A Sony insider told The Hollywood Reporter that April would be a logical time for Stringer to give up one of his titles.

The news comes days before start of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.