Reynolds, Augustus Percival Harald (‘Percy’) (1895–1983), accountant, company director, racehorse owner and breeder, was born 29 August 1895 at 9 Florence St., Dublin, son of John Richard Reynolds, bookkeeper, and Mary Reynolds (née Griffin). Educated at the O'Connell Schools, he supported the rebellion of 1916 and fought at the Royal College of Surgeons while his father and sister were stationed at the GPO. Following the rising he was imprisoned at Wormwood Scrubs prison and later at Frongoch camp in Wales. He returned to Dublin, where he turned his attention to his career and later became an accountant. By 1929 he was a partner with E. T. McCarron in the firm of Reynolds, McCarron & Co., which was originally based in Suffolk St. but later moved to Upper O'Connell St.
In 1929 both Reynolds and McCarron acquired a minority stake in the General Omnibus Co. (GOC). In 1932 they acquired the entire company and Reynolds left the accountancy practice to become full-time managing director. The process of amalgamation within the Irish transport industry was already under way and in 1935 the GOC was compulsorily absorbed into the Dublin United Tramways Co., which then became known as the Dublin United Transport Co. (DUTC). Reynolds became head of the new operation (1935) and in May 1935 he was appointed by the minister for industry and commerce, Seán Lemass (qv), to sit on the air transport advisory committee. Friendly with Lemass, he was appointed to serve as a director (1936–41) of Aer Lingus on its foundation in 1936.
By 1942 the rail network was outdated and was suffering from the shortage in fuel caused by the second world war. Lemass used the emergency powers legislation then in place to make an order (1942) that gave the government control, but not ownership, of the troubled Great Southern Railway Co. (GSR). Reynolds was appointed chairman and given extensive powers in an attempt to create a viable rail network. He quickly realised that the railways could not maintain the extensive network then in place without some form of outside support. In 1942 alone, eleven branch lines were closed because of lack of fuel. At the GSR AGM in 1943 he called on the government to make railways viable. In February 1943 he entered discussions with Lemass, which resulted in the Transport Act, 1944. This provided that the GSR and the DUTC be merged into one company, Coras Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), with the stockholders of the original companies being given stock in the new concern. The company would thus remain in private ownership in the hope that a viable rail network could be provided by generating profits rather than relying on subsidies. Despite the retention of private ownership, the minister for industry and commerce was to appoint the chairman, who was equipped with several controversial powers. There could be no board meetings without the chairman present and no decision without his approval, and he could constitute a quorum at any meeting. In effect this gave the chairman and his sponsor complete control over the company.
The new company came into being on 1 January 1945 with Reynolds as its first chairman, appointed for a term of five years. At the time, CIÉ was the largest employer in the state, with a staff in excess of 21,000 people. By the end of 1945 the company appeared to have turned a corner, largely due to improved fuel supplies, and the branch lines closed since 1942 were reopened. In March 1946 Reynolds presented the annual report for 1945, showing a £220,000 (1945) surplus for the rail division and an increase in passenger numbers. He also announced a reduction in fare prices and plans to purchase several diesel locomotives. But when Reynolds presented the annual report for 1946, it showed that the rail division had a deficit of £433,000, much of which he put down to the reopened branch lines. The extremely harsh winter in 1947 only served to make matters worse, because it was almost impossible to get fuel into the country. By 24 February 1947 nearly all passenger services had ceased, and when they later resumed fares were increased (April). At the same time, due to a labour court ruling, the company's wage costs increased by £700,000 (1947) so that wages made up a total of 62 per cent of gross operating revenue. The report for 1947 showed that the company made a loss of £912,000 compared to a profit of £129,000 the previous year.
When Fianna Fáil lost power in 1948 Lemass, Reynold's friend and ally, was replaced by Daniel Morrissey (qv) at the Department of Industry and Commerce. Reynolds wrote to inform him of the losses for 1948 and warned that they would in all probability be greater for the following year. He requested permission to carry out several measures that he felt were necessary to make CIÉ viable. These included purchasing new rolling stock and diesel locomotives, closing branch lines, and restricting private road goods transport. Reynolds argued that if the country needed a railway it had to be maintained, and it needed to secure traffic. He believed that this could only be achieved with outside help, and he stated the three options he saw for the transport system: nationalisation, subsidies, or restrictions on private transport. He felt that a decision had to be made in relation to whether the rail system was run for public benefit or for profit. If the latter, then the non-profit-making services would have to be abandoned. If the former, it would have to be accepted that some form of government assistance was necessary to make the system viable.
Morrissey's response was to commission a report by Sir James Milne (1883–1958), which did not address the issue of nationalisation and rejected the idea of diesel locomotives. Most notably the report criticised the powers of the chairman. On 2 January 1949 Clann na Poblachta called for the resignation of those within CIÉ who were responsible for the crisis. The following day Morrissey informed Reynolds that he would be replaced. Although Reynolds did not make any direct claims that he had been treated as a scapegoat, he openly criticised the refusal to switch to diesel locomotives in a statement published in the Irish Independent (21 February 1949). The following day his criticism of the Milne report was supported in the Irish Press. His foresight was recognised only six years later, when his successor, Thaddeus Courtney (qv), succeeded in completing the transfer to diesel locomotives.
When Fianna Fáil returned to power in 1951, Lemass appointed Reynolds to the board of the Great Northern Railway, which was established under the joint ownership of the governments of the Republic and Northern Ireland. In this capacity he served as chairman every second year. In 1957 he was also appointed chairman of Dundalk Engineering Works, and in 1958 he was appointed to a committee to investigate possible options for the recently closed Harcourt St. railway station. Reynolds was by nature a hard worker and in the late 1960s, at more than 70 years of age, he opened a shop at 1 Swift's Row, selling office furniture, and managed the business till three years before his death at the age of 87.
Reynolds was a renowned horse breeder and owner. During the 1940s he owned a stud farm in Meath. In 1941 his horse Sol Oriens won the Irish Derby, though the owner was listed as ‘Mr J. Dillon’, Reynolds's nom de course. He was elected to the Turf Club in 1943. He lived at Fortfield Road, Terenure, and later at Brookville, Edenmore Road, Raheny, before moving to Abbeville, Kinsealy. Renovated by James Gandon (qv), Abbeville was a mansion set in 120 acres, which Reynolds planned to put to use as a stud. During his time there, the rooms were restored under the architect Michael Scott (qv). The stud was not a success and Reynolds sold the house in 1963. He was an avid art collector; his collection included works by Nathaniel Hone (qv), Festus Kelly, and Jack B. Yeats (qv). He died 4 March 1983 at Baggot St. Hospital and was buried at St Fintan's cemetery, Sutton, Co. Dublin.
He married first Eileen Stanley (d. 1937), with whom he had four children, and secondly Beatrice Lundrum of Cork, with whom he also had children. The dates of his marriages are not known.