In the midst of takeover rumors, Rackspace (RAX) has lost one of its cloud executives to potential suitor Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Mark Interrante, who has served as Rackspace's senior vice president of Products and Engineering, has left to join HP as the senior vice president of Engineering in HP's Cloud business unit.

Interrante joined Rackspace in 2010 and left in March, according to his LinkedIn profile. A Re/code article claims that Interrante left his former employer in March. It's an interesting move, particularly in light of the rumors that HP may be in talks to acquire Rackspace.

According to an internal memo regarding Interrante's hiring (again, published by Re/code), Interrante has joined HP to take on the responsibility of managing cloud research and development.

From the memo: "Our R&D teams have made great progress in the past several months. We have restructured to focus on our new roadmap and have grown our teams from both within HP and external hiring. We have released new and exciting products such as Helion OpenStack Community, Helion OpenStack Commercial (Beta) and the Helion Development Platform (Beta) leveraging our Cloud Foundry partnership. There has also been great work done in support of the public cloud. Now is the time to bring in a leader to focus on the continued growth and excellence of the cloud R&D function. Our ability to attract leaders of Mark's caliber to the cloud organization is further evidence of our momentum in the marketplace and of the strength of our plans."

Also according to the internal memo, Saar Gillai will continue to lead HP Cloud as COO.

The hiring of Interrante fits in well with HP's interest and contributions to the OpenStack project, as the company's new senior vice president was involved in the project from early on. Perhaps this will mean an increasing role for HP in the OpenStack project.

For Interrante, it's in some way a homecoming. In another life, he worked for HP on printers, test and measurement and HP Shopping, but his resume also includes roles at Yahoo Media, Deloitte Consulting and Texas Instruments.