Batley businessman turned Leeds United legend dies

Leslie Silver outside Kalon in 1991
Leslie Silver outside Kalon in 1991

A much-loved business leader and football legend has passed away.

Leslie Silver, founder of Birstall-based Kaylon Paints (now PPG) and former chairman of Leeds United FC died yesterday at the age of 89.

After leaving the RAF aged 22, he started a business in 1947 with a £250 gratuity, mixing and selling paint. Silver Paints grew quickly and in 1960 moved to Batley, later changing its name to Kalon Group.

In 1983, the company moved to a 60-acre site in Birstall, developing one of the most sophisticated paint plants in western Europe.

It joined the stock market in 1985 by reversing into Leyland Paints. When Silver retired, in 1991, it employed more than 1,300 people and had a turnover of £100m and made profits of £9m. The company is now part of the worldwide paint manufacturer, PPG.

The company gained the Queen’s Award for Export in 1979 and three years later, Leslie Silver was appointed an OBE. He was named Yorkshire Businessman of the Year in 1983.

A former chairman of Leeds United, Silver headed the club’s board when it won the First Division title in 1992. Since his retirement, he has become involved with Leeds Metropolitan University where he served as chancellor and has supported numerous charities.