Executive director

Executive director

Professor Stephen J. Simpson AC FAA FRS

BSc (Hons) (University of Queensland), PhD (King’s College London)

Professor Stephen Simpson is Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. The Charles Perkins Centre is a new $500 million cross-faculty initiative at the University of Sydney. Its mission is to research and implement cross-disciplinary approaches to alleviating the individual and societal burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Stephen returned to Australia in 2005 as an ARC Federation Fellow after 22 years at Oxford. Before that he had undertaken his PhD at the University of London, and his undergraduate degree and Honours at the University of Queensland.

Together with colleague David Raubenheimer, Stephen developed an integrative modelling framework for nutrition, the Geometric Framework, which was devised and tested using insects but has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. A synthesis of this body of work can be found in The Nature of Nutrition: a Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity, published by Princeton University Press in 2012. In addition to nutritional biology, Stephen’s research on locusts has led to an understanding of locust swarming that links chemical events in the brains of individual insects to landscape-scale mass migration.

Stephen has been Visiting Professor at Oxford, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Arizona, and Guest Professor at the University of Basel. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2008 he was awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, in 2009 he was named NSW Scientist of the Year and was an inaugural 'Frontiers in Biology' Lecturer at Princeton University. In 2012 he was named as the Wigglesworth Medallist by the Royal Entomological Society of London. In 2013 Stephen was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Entomological Society, alongside the Edwards Oration from the Australian Society for Medical Research. Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2015.

He was also co-writer, narrator and presenter of the four-part documentary Great Southern Land, for ABC TV, which was aired to critical and viewer acclaim in September 2012. 



Dr Craig Emerson

BEc (Hons), MEc (University of Sydney), and PhD Ec (Australian National University)

Dr Craig Emerson is an eminent economist with 35 years of experience in public policy, politics and public service. He is now Managing Director of Craig Emerson Economics Pty Ltd, providing professional services to the business community.

Dr Emerson organised the successful National Reform Summit held in August 2015, bringing together representative of the business community, trade unions and community organisations to produce an agreed statement on policy responses to Australia's economic challenges. He was elected to the House of Representatives for Rankin, Queensland from 1993 - 2013.

Dr Emerson was Minister for Trade and Competitiveness during the period 2012-2013. He was also Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy. Prior to that he was Minister for Small Business and Minister for Competition Policy.

Dr Emerson was a Senior Adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He has been a senior public servant, heading the Queensland Environment Department and the Southeast Queensland Transit Authority.

Dr Emerson's early career was as Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Economic Adviser to Finance Minister Peter Walsh, and Economic Analyst at the United Nations.

Dr Emerson has a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. He is an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University's College of Business and writes a fortnightly column for The Australian Financial Review. 

Board member, obesity australia

Professor Ian Caterson AM FRSN

MBBS (Hons) BSc(Med) (Hons) PhD (The University of Sydney) FRACP

Ian Caterson is currently Foundation Director of the Boden Institute of Obesity Nutrition Exercise and Eating Disorders and Boden Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney. Prior to that he was Senior Staff Specialist and Director of Clinical Endocrinology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, where, in 1984, he established the first multi-disciplinary weight management service in Australia. He was a recipient of the prestigious Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Foundation Medal for 2015.

In 2005, Professor Ian Caterson alongside fellow colleagues, Professor Kopelman and Dr DIetz wrote a book titled Clinical Obesity, and was published by Blackwell Publishers.

He is a recognised expert on obesity, its causes, prevention and management. He was on the Prevention and Community Health Committee of the NHMRC of Australia and chaired the Expert Obesity Committee of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. He is President-elect of World Obesity.


Stuart Shinfield

BB (University of Technology, Sydney), MBA (Cambridge University)

Stuart Shinfield is a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He was admitted as a partner in 2008 having worked with the firm since 1995. Stuart leads the Data Assurance team at PwC, using Data Analytics to transform the delivery of audit and assurance services. In his 21 years with PwC, Stuart has worked in Australia and the UK, across the Assurance, Consulting, Deals and Private Clients businesses.

Born in Australia, Stuart is a graduate of the University of Technology, Sydney (Bachelor of Business) and Cambridge University, UK (Master of Business Administration). He is a Chartered Accountant, receiving the NSW Regional Director's prize for Candidate of the Year in 2001. 

Over the last 10 years, Stuart has contributed to major reform programs in Education. Stuart led the PwC project to advise the NSW government on its Resource Allocation Model for NSW Public Schools, and has advised the Commonwealth Government in its reform of funding for adjustment to education provided to school students with disability. Stuart led the development of the NSW Government's Personalised Learning and Support Signposting Tool, an instrument now used by educators in NSW Public Schools to better understand particular areas of need for students, and to facilitate a positive collaboration with families.

In Stuart's current role, he serves senior leaders and governors of major Australian corporations, as well as Government and not-for-profit entities, as they seek to better understand the drivers of risk and performance through the use of data analytics.

Board Member, obesity australia

Professor Anna Peeters

BSc(Hons) University of Melbourne, PhD University of Melbourne

Anna is the Director of the Institute for Healthcare Transformation and Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health & Head of Obesity and Population Health in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University. She is a public health researcher, particularly interested in the provision of information to facilitate objective and equitable choices in public health by policy makers, practitioners and the public. 

She holds numerous academic positions, such as Adjunct Associate Professor at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University. She is also an affiliate of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. Additionally, she has held many positions with societies and committees, such as the President (2011 - 2014) and Covenor (2015) of the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society. Since 2015, she has been the Chair for the International Congress on the Obesity Liaison Committee. 

Anna is a fellow of NHMRC Career Development (2013 - 2017) and on the council of the Australia New Zealand Obesity Society (President 2011-14), and on advisory boards and steering committees for the Parent’s Jury, the Victorian government’s Equity Focussed Health Impact Assessment advisory group and WorkHealth advisory group, and on the World Cancer Research Fund’s Policy Advisory Group. Anna has recently been awarded the prestigious World Obesity Federation Andre Mayer Award for 2014 and a Churchill Award (2014). She previously also held a fellowship with VicHealth from 2004 - 2012.


The Honourable Helen Coonan

BA and LLB (Hons) (University of Sydney)

Helen Coonan is a company director, corporate adviser, barrister and mediator. She is a former Senator, Cabinet Minister and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Helen commenced political life following an impressive legal career that included establishing her own legal firm, partnership in a large commercial law form and practice as both a barrister in Australia and as a New York Attorney.

Helen Coonan was first elected as Liberal Senator for New South Wales in 1996 and was subsequently re-elected in 2001 and 2007. Having served continuously for almost 10 years on the front bench, in Government and Opposition, she resigned in August 2011 to take up corporate roles in the private sector.

She is a member of the JP Morgan Advisory Council and also a Non-Executive Director of Crown Ltd. and a Member of Chief Executive Women.

In the Howard Government Helen held a number of senior positions. Starting as Deputy Government Whip she quickly progressed to Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer. In July 2004 she was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

Helen Coonan chalked up a number of firsts. She was the first woman to be appointed to a Treasury portfolio in the history of Federation. When she was appointed as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate she became the first women to join the Coalition Leadership Team.

In her capacity as Communications Minister Helen Coonan was the architect of sweeping reforms to Australia's outdated media laws and also pioneered the move to digital broadcasting. She spearheaded legislation to secure the completed privatization of Telstra and policy to make fast broadband available and affordable to all Australians regardless of where they lived.

As Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue and a member of Cabinet's Expenditure Review Committee she was the key driver of the Howard Government's business tax and GST changes. She also oversaw a major overhaul of prudential regulation that has been credited with underpinning the strong performance of Australia's institution in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. She secured the passage of the Coalition Governments co-contribution for low income earners and also pioneered the Financial Literacy Foundation.

Having also served as the senior Minister for the Arts, Helen Coonan continues to support the performing and visual arts and has a particular passion for promoting Australian culture to the world. She is a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House Trust and Chair of the Conservation Council of the Opera House Trust.