Sean “Diddy” Combs today announced the promotion of Dia Simms to president of Combs Enterprises.
In her new role, Simms will oversee business activities across Combs’ companies and investments and will work with him to develop their financial and operational growth. Combs Enterprises includes Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean John, Combs Wine & Spirits (Cîroc and DeLeón), AQUAhydrate, The Blue Flame advertising and marketing agency, Bad Boy Touring, Janice Combs Publishing, Revolt Films and Revolt & TV, as well as ENYCE, Zac Posen, and the Combs Foundation.
Simms was most recently interim COO of the 218-person-strong company, a role she filled simultaneously along with her posts as GM of Blue Flame and president of Combs Wines & Spirits. In the latter role, she was a key player in the acquisition of DeLeon Tequila and the brand’s relaunch and in the growth of Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka as a brand.
“There is nobody better equipped to run Combs Enterprises and lead us into the future,” Diddy said in a statement. “Dia’s passion, ambition, hard work and commitment to excellence have produced an unparalleled record of success. She has created and grown countless businesses and inspired those around her to excel. Not only am I confident she will succeed in her new role, I am excited about everything Combs Enterprises will accomplish under her leadership.”
“I’m delighted and honored to have this role,” Simms tells Variety. “I’ve worked in a variety of industries where women have not had their fair share of opportunities to have true leadership, and I’m very much looking forward to what’s next.”
Simms, who began working with Combs as an assistant in 2005, began her career at the U.S. Department of Defense, straight out of college.
“It’s been a very curious journey!” she laughs. “I was selected for a specific program to change how procurement was handled with the government — you may recall those $500-hammer scandals. I went to college in Maryland and was part of a team that was selected from D.C.-area schools to refresh the procurement process and make sure we were accountable to taxpayers, et cetera. People always ask what that has to do with my current job, but in all honesty there are some parallels in terms of them being heavily male-dominated industries, thinking on your feet, understanding a staggering amount of information in a short period of time, and in particular negotiations. In my very first job, I literally negotiated $100 million contracts and worked with trainer jets in my early 20s.”
She then moved into advertising, where Bad Boy was one of her clients. After joining forces with Diddy in 2005, she rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming chief of staff and then GM of The Blue Flame Agency, and then EVP and soon after president of Combs Wines & Spirits,
“Sean Combs is a visionary, and I think what makes it such a great working relationship is that I’m good at operationalizing the ideas he comes up with — “That sounds amazing, how can I make it scaleable? What is the ROI? You have to approach things with the mindset of we can do absolutely anything here.
“He has literally worked with a ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ attitude since he was a teenager,” she continues, referencing the Bad Boy documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month. “And although he continues to be actively involved creatively, we would like as an organization to allow him to be the visionary so I can help manage the daily operation of this business.”