LONDON – Marrack Goulding, a British diplomat who served as the first head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, has died at age 73.

Goulding died Friday; cause of death was not announced.

Goulding was appointed undersecretary-general for special political affairs, in charge of peacekeeping operations, in 1986. He was closely involved in setting up the U.N. Department for Peacekeeping Operations in 1992.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Goulding “led an area of exponential growth at an exceptionally challenging time of change for the organization and for the world as a whole.”

From 1993 to 1996, Goulding was undersecretary-general for political affairs, then returned to Britain to serve for a decade as warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford.