Eighteen months after HP acquired code analysis company Fortify Software, most of its highly-regarded management team has jumped ship to new SIEM startup, AlienVault.

The full list being parachuted in includes Barmak Meftah as AlienVault’s new CEO, Fortify co-founder Roger Thornton as CTO, plus other Fortify notables Jim Yares, John Richardson, Jack Marshall, Gail Boddy, and Briton Richard Kirk.

AlienVault’s current management will be retained in new roles that see co-founder and former CEO Julio Casal become General Manager of a new managed security service provider business unit, and co-founder and former CTO Dominique Karg take up the job of “chief hacking officer.”

Staff jump ship from startup to startup all the time in Silicon Valley but whole teams arriving from a single company are still an unusual occurrence, especially to a relative unknown such as AlienVault.

The company’s model is to sell enterprise versions of its open source SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software, OSSIM, which it said has been downloaded 160,000 times.

The company is not totally unknown. Only last week it published a report on the Sykipot malware it said is being used by Chinese hackers to hack US Department of Defense (DoD) smart cards.

“Before HP acquired us [Fortify] we were already thinking about what was next,” said Richard Kirk who will oversee the company’s international expansion. “In Silicon Valley this happens all the time.”

The move had happened thanks to “mutual contacts”, he said, code for venture capital connections.