He was born in Göttingen, the son of a government official. He was educated at the Gymnasium in Soest, graduating in 1911. In 1912 he became a Fahnenjunker (cadet officer) with Infanterieregiment 68 (Koblenz), passing his officer exam in 1913. During WW I he fought with Infanterieregiment 363 on the Western Front, winning the Iron Cross twice. In 1917 he was injured and captured by the French. Released in March 1920 he left the army with the rank of Oberleutnant.
Post-war he worked for Deutsche Erdöl AG before studying political science at the Universities of Bonn and then Würzburg. He graduated with a Ph.D. in 1922 and joined Gelsenkirchen mining firm to work in the legal department.
In April 1928 he joined the NSDAP and became a local group leader in October 1929. In September 1930 he became a member of the Reichstag and in January 1931 NSDAP Gauleiter in north Westphalia (Westfalen). Following the Nazi seizure of power Meyer was appointed Reichsstatthalter (deputy governor) of Lippe und Schaumburg-Lippe in May 1933 and he was made Staatsminister (governor) of the federal government for Lippe und Schaumburg-Lippe in August 1936.
In 1939 Meyer was made Chef der Zivilverwaltung and in 1941 he became deputy to Alfred Rosenberg in the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Meyer was responsible for the departments of politics, administration and economics. In this role he directed the exploitation of the occupied Soviet areas, the suppression and murder of its inhabitants, particularly Jews, and the organisation of slave labour.
He attended the Wannsee conference in January 1942 as a representative for Rosenberg. In November 1942 he was also made Reichsverteidigungskommissar (Reich Defense Commissioner) of Defense District VI (northern Westphalia).
Meyer was found dead in May 1945 by the River Weser, probably a suicide.
He had married Dorothee Capell in 1925.