Wilhelm Cuno was born in Suhl, Germany on 2nd July, 1876. He studied law in Berlin and Heidelberg, before joining the German civil service
In 1907 Cuno was appointed as assessor in the German treasury department and helped draft bills for the Reichstag.
During the First World War Cuno headed the department that had the responsibility of maintaining grain supplies. Later he served in the food ministry and as an advisory to the government on the war economy.
In December 1918 Cuno became chairman of the Hamburg-American Line, Germany's largest shipping company. After refusing two offers to join the German government Cuno accepted the post of chancellor in November 1922.
The French invasion of the Ruhr in January, 1923, caused Cuno political problems. His policy of passive resistance was unpopular in Germany and in August, 1923 he was forced to resign as chancellor.
Cuno returned to private industry and once again became chairman of Hamburg-American Line. Wilhelm Cuno died on 3rd January, 1933.