Emyr is originally from Benllech, Anglesey, and attended Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch. He then went to Reading University and achieved his Doctorate at the Department of Geography, University College Wales, Aberystwyth. After an initial career with the National Farmers’ Union, Emyr joined the Welsh Office in 1991, and undertook a variety of roles including health, finance, culture and recreation, and economic development. Within the Welsh Government he was Chief Executive of the Wales European Funding Office, Director Social Justice and Regeneration, Director General Public Services and Local Government, and Director General Education and Skills. In 2012 Emyr was appointed Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, and led the creation of the new environmental body for Wales which integrated the work of the previous legacy bodies. He retired at the end of 2017. Emyr is Chair of Council at Aberystwyth University, Chair of the Chairs of the Universities of Wales, a Trustee of the Alzheimer’s Society, and a Member of the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body.