Latest news | 14 Jul 2023

Butterfly’s new CEO passionate to improve treatment and support at a critical time for eating disorders and body dissatisfaction


Butterfly Foundation, Australia’s national eating disorder charity, is pleased to announce the appointment of new CEO, Dr Jim Hungerford, bringing more than 20-years of experience across commercial, healthcare and not-for-profit sectors.

Sydney, Australia – 14 July 2023 

With more than one million Australians living with an eating disorder, and less than a quarter of those receiving treatment or support, Jim joins the charity at a critical time as it continues to strive towards its goals of reducing stigma and increasing help-seeking, working to prevent eating disorders developing and improving treatment and support.

Jim is an executive leader with proven success both in Australia and internationally, leading multi-cultural teams across disciplines. Most recently, Jim was CEO for 12 years of The Shepherd Centre; a world-leading early intervention support service for children who are deaf or have a hearing loss; leading both the size of the organisation, and the number of children who were helped, to grow four-fold during his tenure. His compassion for individuals and carers is driven by his witnessing the impact of an eating disorder first-hand, both at work and within his extended family, as well as by his involvement with the mental health system of care.

According to Jim, “Butterfly is a highly respected organisation that makes an incredible difference to people’s lives, and I’m honoured to be coming on board. I look forward to building on the organisation’s role representing the voice of lived experience in its advocacy and support for people with eating disorders and body image issues.

“Prevention and early intervention are so critical in this space, as with any mental health conditions, and I am eager to support the Education Services that Butterfly has been offering in schools and communities for 17 years. Where prevention or early intervention have not been available or successful, support, treatment and recovery services are essential components in the system of care, and I will be working to understand how our services and offerings best serve our community. My focus is on data, not beliefs, and I am heartened by Butterfly’s delivery of evidence-based, best practice services and programs. Given my fundraising background, I am also keen to innovate and grow our income streams to help us to achieve these goals.”

One of Jim’s first visits in his new role will be to the office of the Hon. Allegra Spender MP, Independent Member for Wentworth, as a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Eating Disorders Awareness multi-partisan group. “I am very keen to meet with Ministers and other government officials who have expressed an interest in this space, to work with them on providing better outcomes for people living with, or at risk of, an eating disorder or body dissatisfaction,” he said.

David Murray, Chair of Butterfly Foundation Board, said: “We welcome Jim to the role of CEO at Butterfly. After a competitive process, the Board has selected someone with a strong combination of experience, compassion, and energy to drive Butterfly to achieve its purpose. The Board looks forward to working with Jim, as we continue to tackle the widespread distress associated with eating disorders.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Anna Cullinane who has been in the role of Interim CEO since mid-May, in addition to her normal duties as Chief Financial Officer. Anna successfully led the organisation externally, as well as managing the team internally during this time, and will be supporting Jim as he transitions to the role of CEO.”

Dr Jim Hungerford was also appointed to the Hearing Australia Board in June 2023, and is on the Boards of RSL NSW (since 2022) and Fundraising Institute Australia (since 2018), as well as being on the Advisory Committee for Macquarie University’s Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE), a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Fundraising Institute Australia, and holding a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney.

Jim will take up the role of CEO on Monday 17 July 2023.




Media Contact

Harriet Potter, Communications Manager

0451 837 044


Editor and producers note

Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders.

Dr Hungerford will be available for interviews on request. Photos available on request.


Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14