Update: Sony has officially denied reports of Hirai’s appointment as president.

Original story: Sony will name consumer business chief and former games unit head Kazuo Hirai as president of the company as early as April, according to Japan’s Nikkei business publication.

Current president, chairman and CEO Howard Stringer will lose his president title but will remain CEO and chairman. The move almost certainly sets up 51-year-old Hirai to take the reins from 69-year-old Stringer some time in the future.

Sony did not immediately respond with an official comment.

Hirai (pictured) was head of Sony’s games unit from 2006 to mid-2011 and essentially built Sony’s successful PlayStation business in the U.S. from the ground up. In June 2011, European games head Andrew House took over the gaming unit, and Hirai became the company’s consumer business chief.

When the notorious Sony PlayStation Network hack occurred in the middle of 2011, Hirai made the announcement that the network was back online in the U.S. Hirai obviously did not get blamed internally for the debacle, which shut down the PSN for a month and led to lawsuits when players had sensitive data stolen.

We will update this post when we hear more.