The Future Strategy Office had come to represent the concentration of elite power that South Koreans are so fed up with, says Lee Jong-tae (no relation to Mr Lee) of SisaIN, a South Korean magazine.
In the past, the office was said to have been vital in ensuring the family's control.
It managed relations with the government to that end.
Yet even its abolition serves the Lee dynasty.
It is a pacifying move to try to “save” the young chieftain, says Lee Jong-tae.
Mr Lee can now seek bail, and a court must rule within three months.
Still, after his arrest, says Chang Sea-jin of the National University of Singapore, Mr Lee will have “neither the legitimacy nor the size of equity stake” to maintain the emperor-style management of his father (inheritance tax will slightly reduce the family's stake).
The day-to-day running of Samsung will be little affected by the dissolution of the family's most loyal body, because of the control still wielded by the Lee dynasty.
Most people expect the key functions of the strategy office to be transferred to other parts of the group, most likely to three companies—Samsung C&T, Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics—in preparation for a long-anticipated transition to a more transparent holding-company structure.
Shares in Samsung Electronics are trading at near record highs owing to strong results and optimism about the coming launch of the latest model of its main smartphone, the Galaxy S8.
The chief surprise this week was the mass resignation of the strategy office's nine executives, including an old guard handpicked by the elder Mr Lee.
Mr Chang suspects that this “corporate cleansing” will work in the younger Mr Lee's favour.
Some of the executives had become so powerful that they might have overshadowed him.
The unit's closure might both save the heir and make his return easier.