Sony has officially denied a report by respected Japanese newspaper The Nikkei claiming Kazuo Hirai was set to take over as company president.

“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.”

It’s important to note that the official statement doesn’t necessarily mean Hirai won’t replace current president Howard Stringer (eventually).

Hirai, best known to gamers for his embarrassing Ridge Racer PSP demo during E3 2006 (see video below), would be taking over the company during its darkest hour. In fiscal 2011, just months after predicting a sizable profit, the company posted losses of roughly $3.2 billion dollars, and again in November with $1.2 billion. This is largely attributed to the company’s poor electronics sales, particularly TVs, as well as slumping PlayStation product sales.

The PlayStation Vita, Sony’s latest handheld gaming device, saw a disappointing launch in Japan over the Christmas period. The Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster in March of 2011, along with the five-week PlayStation Network outage and security breach (estimated to have cost Sony $172 million), have certainly not helped the company.

Hirai, currently executive deputy president of Sony, said in November that “management is feeling a serious sense of crisis about the seven years of losses.” Hirai promised to “lead the turnaround to get Sony out of the red” himself.

Image via Gawker