But Vaughan denied his contribution to the four-and-a-half-hour emergency board meeting at Twickenham last Thursday night had sealed Steele's fate.
Steele was removed from his post after the RFU board lost confidence in his leadership, both for his flawed attempt to recruit a performance director and an apparent breakdown in relationships with key stakeholders.
The RFU board had previously pledged their full support for Steele but decided his position was untenable after new information, garnered from staff and sponsors, was brought to the table.
Vaughan, who has grown the RFU's commercial revenues from £43million to £119million in a decade, confirmed he reported to the meeting before leaving the room when the vote took place.
"John went down very well in terms of the face of the game. Inevitably the board made a decision that it wasn't going to last much longer so therefore concluded it was time to part ways," said Vaughan, who was addressing the Nolan Partners Sport Industry Breakfast Club.
"I can't say what I said in the meeting but what you read in the press wasn't quite true.
"I did abstain, I will admit to. It is difficult to vote on your own line manager's future so I left the room at that point.
"It was a rounded discussion. It wasn't just what I said, it was a combination of things."
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